Moffat County School District is moving forward with its search for new football coaches and plans to hire a new head coach by early next week.
The coaching positions opened up after the school district asked five football coaches to resign after an alleged hazing incident that took place in Evanston, Wyoming, on June 18 to 20. The sixth high school coach resigned on his own free will.
The former coaches still will be able to teach at the high school, but they won’t be allowed to guide the football team on the field.
Football practice is slated to start Aug. 11, and MCSD Superintendent Brent Curtice anticipates that the new coaching staff will be ready to train players.
It’s not yet known how many players will be on the football team, and the number of coaches hired largely will depend on the number of players, new high school principal Kelly McCormick said.
“From the (coaches) I’ve been interviewing, we definitely have qualified candidates,” McCormick said, noting that he hopes to hire them as teachers and coaches. “If they can teach, that’s a plus.”
A middle school coach (a non-paid position) who also attended the football camp was told he could not volunteer as a middle school football coach next year.
McCormick wants to be open and honest with teachers and parents about this year’s football season, he said.
“I’ll answer any questions that I need to from parents,” McCormick said. “If (students) are thinking about football, they should go for it. I highly encourage everyone to play football this year.”
Although football players will work with different coaches, the former coaches have said publically — through a letter to the editor in the Craig Daily Press — that they hope students will play hard this year.
“Please join us in encouraging your son to become part of Moffat County football,” the letter said.
A new aspect of this football season is that the Colorado High School Activities Association moved the Bulldogs down to Division 2A from 3A, giving the players an opportunity to play against those closer to their skill level.
Even though football is scheduled to continue, the hazing allegations are not over yet.
The Evanston (Wyoming) Police Department still is investigating the incident. Police officials were in Craig on July 17, and will be back in town Monday to conclude interviews with those involved, said Lt. Ken Pearson, of Evanston.
Reach Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.